In this Update:
Senate Passes Bills Empowering Parents
The Senate approved legislation that would empower parents to protect their own child from accessing sexually explicit content at school, without impacting the books available to other students. Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
Senate Bill 7 was crafted after a non-partisan, thorough two-year process – including conversations with parents, school administrators, teachers and librarians. It would not ban any books from Pennsylvania school curriculum or libraries, but rather empower parents to control only what their own children have access to in school.
The Senate also approved legislation requiring schools to make public curriculum information available online, including a link or title for every textbook and course syllabus used for classes. Other measures passed this week would require schools to display the United States Constitution and display the Pennsylvania Constitution. Empowering parents and families is a priority of Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
Senate Votes to Extend and Improve Program to Protect Students
Building on recent legislation to improve school bus safety, the Senate approved legislation extending and improving the school bus stop-arm automated enforcement program. The measure is set for enactment into law.
The program was first authorized in 2018 and includes nearly 40 participating school districts that equipped 2,500 school buses with cameras to record vehicles that don’t stop for school buses. More than 4,000 violations have been recorded.
The program was set to expire this week. Senate Bill 851 makes the program permanent, improves interaction with law enforcement and streamlines the appeals process. If a driver illegally passes a stopped school bus, the school district will send the car owner a police-vetted violation in the mail. The owner must pay the $300 fine or make an appeal for a virtual or in-person hearing overseen by a PennDOT official. The driver may petition a magisterial district judge after PennDOT’s decision.
Helping the Game Commission Stock Pheasants
It was a pleasure to ride along with Pennsylvania Game Commission State Game Warden Greg Graham and assist with pheasant stocking in State Game Lands 220, Reinholds. For more photos from the day, visit my Instagram page here.
Register Now for My Anti-Human-Trafficking Educational Awareness & Prevention Event
Human trafficking is an international crisis, but is particularly prevalent in Lancaster County.
I am partnering with Rep. Mindy Fee, Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams, and Brad Ortenzi of Zoe International for an informational briefing. Parents, local officials, and community members are invited to learn about local human trafficking, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.
Topics will include the relationship between human trafficking, drugs, and social media; knowing what to do if individuals suspect human trafficking; learning how to keep children safe from trafficking; and success stories of the Lancaster County Human Trafficking Task Force.
The event will be held on Monday, Nov. 13, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Warwick Middle School Auditorium, 401 Maple St., Lititz. Register to attend here.
Happy 100th Birthday to Two Local Ladies
What an honor to visit Ephrata to wish Ms. Esabelle Van Dask a happy 100th birthday. She was employed in the Braddock office of the United States Steel Corporation before her marriage to Robert Van Dask. They were married for 70 years before he passed, and she is the proud mother of two children. Ms. Van Dask has also been blessed with four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Happy belated 100th birthday to Lititz resident Mary Hauck! Known as Flo to her family members and friends, she was the beloved wife of Edward B. Hauck for 75 years prior to his passing. She is the proud mother of five children and has been blessed with four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Best wishes to Flo and her family!
Putting Stronger Candidates on the PA Ballot
Pennsylvanians benefit when elected officials are broadly supported and demonstrate an ability to build coalitions to solve problems for their constituents.
Candidates in a primary election should earn broad support before they’re declared the winner, and primary runoff elections ensure that happens.
Primary runoff elections give voters better choices on the ballot and produce stronger, high-quality candidates with broad support. They also reward candidates who can work collaboratively and solve problems for Pennsylvania. Learn more here.
Grants Available for Organizations Helping Veterans
The Veterans’ Trust Fund is accepting grant applications for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans. Nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs may apply by Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m.
Find more information about the grant opportunity and how to apply here.
The trust fund is supported by Pennsylvanians who donate when applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchase veteran-specific license plates; or make private donations. Tax-deductible donations can be made online.
Apply to Vote by Mail by Oct. 31 for the November Election
The deadline is approaching for anyone who would like to vote by mail for the Nov. 7 election. Your county election board must receive your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot no later than Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 5 p.m.
Any registered voter may request a mail-in ballot. Absentee ballots can be requested by voters with disabilities or an illness that prevents them from going to their polling place on Election Day, or those who will be absent from their municipality on Election Day.
You can apply for a mail-in ballot online, by mail or in person at your county election board’s office or other designated locations. Learn more here.
Recognizing Pennsylvania’s First Responders
Saturday, Oct. 28, is National First Responders Day. Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians care for us during some of life’s worst moments. They are true heroes, and I am proud to honor their brave and selfless efforts.
My Senate colleagues and I have passed legislation to address the serious shortage of volunteer firefighters in the commonwealth. The number dropped from about 300,000 in the 1980s to less than 38,000 today, so they need our support. Without enough volunteers, communities across Pennsylvania face longer wait times when minutes make the difference between life and death.
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